Due to COVID-19, I know many college students have moved back into their childhood home with their family, and as much as we all love our family, it can be… challenging at times. College students are used to a life where they can do what they want when they want. Parents are used to a life where they have the final say in what goes on in their household. Younger siblings are used to the extra space and attention. Regardless, all of us were used to a life in which we could walk outside and go to establishments freely. If you’re feeling stuck with how to keep peace in your household, I have some tips on maintaining cohesiveness. Being together is not a bad thing (even under these circumstances for long amounts of time), and families can come together to support each other through tough times.
For college students, follow the house rules set by your parents. I know it can be annoying because, partially, the point of college is independence. Remember what your parents have done for you. Respect goes a long way to create a peaceful and positive household. Do your part in a little bit of compromising. Contribute to the household. Keep your room clean, and do other chores to keep the household running smoothly. Is it fun? No. Will your parents appreciate it? Absolutely.
I know this blog is for college students, but it goes both ways. Parents should make an effort to also be understanding that the college student’s lifestyle is based on independence. Consider having an open discussion with your family about how to meld the two ways of living that is beneficial to everyone. Keep negativity away from the discussion, and try to understand where everyone is coming from.
Have time for yourself each day. This much together-time can be draining, so make sure you are spending enough time alone to recharge and relax. During this time, try journaling. If you are feeling stressed, put pen to paper and release the stress onto the page. If you don’t know why you’re stressed, try to work it out on paper. If you’re angry or annoyed with someone, try to understand why you’re angry and work out a solution. Writing is cathartic and a useful tool for negative emotions. Jamming to music and belting your favorite songs is also a great stress reliever and reliever of negative emotions. Take a drive and let yourself forget about your problems and stresses. Another great way to let go: meditation. Try meditating to introduce peace within yourself. You cannot make peace with your family if you are not at peace with yourself.
Create a quarantine passion project or apply to virtual jobs. A passion project can be anything you love to do, from painting to blogging. Redo your bedroom; clean out your closet; create something. You have so much time to do what you want and no longer have the excuse of there’s no time. Do what you love without the restriction of what you need to do. If a passion project is not your forte, apply to virtual jobs and internships. They are a great way to build your resume and create connections while your world seems to have come to a halt. While many internships continue to be canceled, find something new you can put your energy into.
Arrange family activities. Simply being around your family (doing nothing) too much can be exhausting, but if there is a reason to be together, family time becomes much more enjoyable. Instead of the energy going into the air, the energy will be used or focused on the activity of choice. My favorites are movie nights, board games, and card tournaments. A change of scenery is also a great way to spend time with your family without feeling trapped. Where I grew up, the city has golf cart paths connecting the entire place. Going for a golf cart drive around town with the wind in my hair melts my stress away. I know this is unique to my town, so consider hiking or driving a car with the windows down as an alternative.
While this cannot solve all the problems of being quarantined with your family, I hope it will help. I am going on almost 3 months with my family in quarantine, and it has not been without its challenges. From my little sisters purposefully annoying me for a source of entertainment to taking on house responsibilities, this has been a transition I was not expecting nor was I prepared for. Let’s all remember what and whom we’re doing this for. I know this is tough, but we are doing our part to save lives.
Please think about the consequences of socializing before deciding to do so. As we begin to slowly transition back to our normal lives, please remember that the fight is not over. Again, thank you to all the essential workers and hospitals.
Thank you. Stay safe and healthy.
Xx, Leonora Lillie
University of Georgia, Phi Mu